By Adisa Adeleye
IT is evident that many patriotic Nigerians are not happy with the current political and economic situation in the country. The condition of the ‘Nigerian situation‘ has always agitated serious minds since democracy returned to the country in 1999 after the hazy harmattan of military usurpation of power in the past decades.
As the Presidency was evidently celebrating the return of Ekitiland to the fold, the insurgents were busily engaged in killings and abductions in Borno and Kano States, Kaduna State not exempted. It is curiously observed that though Nigeria could geographically be described as one country, it is true that the problems of the country are viewed differently by different people in different parts of the country.
Though the fussy characteristics of politicians are common throughout the world, it is the ability to sense danger and respond accordingly that separates the civilized from the jungle ones. The divisive and devilish nature of the Nigerian politics has been responsible for violence, insensibility and the cultivation of nebulous concept of winning at all cost and winner-takes-all.
It is an undeniable fact that old and new nations would always have their moments of crisis that could rock them to their foundation or threaten their cooperate existence, but the mark of maturity would make them understand and take appropriate measures to strengthen their foundation and cement their unity. Many plural societies of this world are prone to fissiporous divisive tendencies, only for statesmen supported by wise-men and not sycophants, to appear at the right moment to calm the nerves and return the situation to normalcy.
In Nigeria, it appears that the leadership has been waging phony wars against agents of destabilization in political uniforms. Though corruption has been recognized as evil, yet the war against it has been weakened through numerous escape routes.
How do you check corrupt governors with provision of unaudited security votes and immunity from prosecution while in office? It is the ultimate reaction to observed inadequacies in political and economic life that determines the maturity of a nation.
Nigeria‘s political history has shown cases of missed opportunities to build a strong and virile nation. The Civil war of 1967-1970 was believed to have been fought to keep Nigeria as one country, but the consequences of that war were far from the causes of the war.
If the Ibos fought with such tenacity to maintain Biafra, subsequent history should have noted the strength of nationalism as exhibited by the Ibo nation as a potent factor. Instead, what was offered the Ibo nation was a reduced territory (with non Ibo areas carved out), but not with enough resources to survive as a nation after such colossal devastation. It is not surprising that some are still having nostalgia for oil rich Biafra even with the existence of the South-Eastern Zone, which is 100 per cent Ibo. Thus, the ‘Ibo Problem‘ is a question of survival of Ibo nation in a country of many nations, some friendly, others antagonistic.
The crucial problem of this country is the inability of the present political leadership (government and opposition) to sit down quietly and consider ways of forging unity amongst the nations (or tribes if you prefer) to co-exist peacefully. Experience has shown, in spite of our showmanship, that this country is not yet ripe for the nicety of party-politics violent and divisive. It is either we allow the emergence of a powerful and charismatic leader who will be supported by all, like President Tito of old Yugoslavia or Ahmadu Toure of Guinea, or in the absence of such, a coalition of political parties in the formation of a national government. The point against a strong leadership is what happens after the death of such a leader.
Yugoslavia as a nation disintegrated after the death of President Tito and Guinea was not the same again after the death of Ahmadu Toure. However, at a particular time, each country would not sit down and pray for a solution to its problems but would work hard, fashion out a solution and pray for it to work – as we now do for the success of the National Conference (against all odds)
As it is being voiced out in some quarters, the survival of democracy rests on effective party politics. It is agreed that periodic voting aids the operations of democracy in any civilized environment. There should be an opportunity for every citizen to assess the government periodically through voting exercise. The voter should have the option to confirm the ruling party or throw it out. To be meaningful, voting should be free and fair under a peaceful environment.
A free and fair election under democracy rests on a sound electoral system that is progressive. A progressive system would not only recognize parties but also independent candidates (the right of each candidate to vote and be voted for).
The method of voting must also rest on the structure of the society, i.e. proportional (representational) voting in a plural society.The resultant government would be in proportion to the votes secured by each party. This method of voting leaves no section unrepresented. If the understanding is that no section would be left out, the incidents of rigging through stuffed ballot-boxes or stealing of them would be minimized. President Jonathan and his ruling party should read again the recommendation of Justice Uwais Committee on Electoral Reforms.
The other point of a clean and fair election rests on the selection of election umpires. In a plural society, the choice of umpires should be liberalized. So it should also be in a state where multi-party system is practiced. In the Nigerian example of a plural society, INEC in its present state, looks odd. It should be made up of different political parties of the country to ensure fairness and equity.
Ekiti gubernatorial elections had come and gone without any unpleasant reactions.
The winner had won a landslide election to unseat the incumbent governor, who graciously accepted defeat. Ekiti is not new to landslide victory to unseat a governor. The NPN‘s landslide victories of 1983 unseated UPN governors of Ondo, Oyo and Bendel States.
Only Ondo State reacted with violence when Omoboriowo (Ekiti) was named the winner in the former Ondo State by the federally nominated umpire. Ekiti people could now be described as real winners in the last election by removing their governor in peace through the results announced by INEC.
A POSER: How could a winner (man of the people) with 203,090 votes from eligible voters list of 733,766, in a population of over 2 million people, feel comfortable?
It looks like a rule of minority by minority for majority democracy deluxe. Some attributed current voters apathy to heavy presence of security personnel during election time, as a strategy. In Ekiti, it took more than 40,000 security personnel to secure voting strength of about 370,000.